Do you guys remember what it was like after the second MCO had just ended?
The daily infection rate was down to double digits, the government announced that we could start opening up again and everyone was ready to return to our pre-pandemic lifestyles.
“We’ve done it!” we said. “The vaccine will be here soon! We can finally get back to normal again!”
Unfortunately, reality was not so kind.
More Malaysians Need To Be Vaccinated
Despite our initial hopes, COVID-19 infections have been rapidly increasing over the past few months. As of 18 May 2021, only 2.5% of Malaysians have been fully vaccinated — far below the global figure of 4.7%.
In order to achieve herd immunity, medical experts say that at least 80% of Malaysian adults will need to be vaccinated.
However, up till today there are still many Malaysians who are uncertain about taking the vaccine. Some of them have simply been too busy to stay informed, while others have been misled by fake news circulating on social media and WhatsApp.
The COVID-19 Task Force
As the Chief Executive Officer of DOC2US, Dr Raymond Choy has made it his mission to help the public stay as informed as possible during these trying times.
“We assembled our COVID-19 Task Force shortly prior to the Movement Control Order (MCO) 1.0 in March last year,” he explained. “It is a voluntary virtual health advisory service that aims to help the public gain adequate information about the spread and management of the COVID-19 pandemic while reducing patient-medical healthcare specialist contact.”
As the first and only telemedicine provider in Malaysia in compliance with the Ministry of Health (MOH), DOC2US allows Malaysians to ask the task force questions about the pandemic and other related matters for free via the MySejahtera app. They’ve also recently released an infographic to educate people about COVID-19 vaccines.
To help out anyone who’s still unsure about the vaccines, we’ve listed down some of their most frequently asked questions and answers below:
Question 1: Does The Brand of COVID-19 Vaccines Matter?
Answer: To put it simply: no.
The more detailed answer is that while different brands of COVID-19 vaccines have different efficacies, higher efficacy is not always better.
This is because all the vaccines were made using different technology, study methods and times, meaning that trying to compare all the vaccines with each other is like comparing apples to oranges.
Just because the numbers are bigger doesn’t necessarily mean that one vaccine is better than the other. That said, all the available vaccines have been proven to provide protection against getting severely ill or dying from COVID-19.
Question 2: What If I Don’t Feel Like Getting Vaccinated On That Day? Can I Just Leave?
Answer: Technically, yes.
Long answer: getting a vaccination is a voluntary action, which means that the police aren’t going to come and catch you if you decide to ditch at the last second.
However, unless you have a valid reason, you really, really, really shouldn’t miss your vaccination appointment.
This is because the vaccines must be transported and stored in an ultra-cold freezer between -80°C and -60°C.
Before the vaccines can be used, the doctor needs to thaw it out first by either putting it in a fridge between 2°C and 8°C or simply leaving it out at room temperature.
However, once the vaccines are out of the freezer they have a very limited shelf life. Before the injection, the vaccine will be mixed with a 0.9% preservative-free normal saline. Once it’s been mixed, the vaccine must be used within six hours.
To make matters worse, a vaccine that’s already been thawed cannot be returned to the freezer again.
So what happens if you ditch your appointment? If the doctor cannot find a replacement in time, the vaccine dose will go bad and have to be thrown away! It’s bad enough if one person ditches, but can you imagine how many vials would go to waste if multiple people decided to ditch their appointment?
Question 3: How Do I Report Any Adverse Effects After Taking My Vaccination?
Answer: You can report any adverse effects via the MySejahtera app. Simply follow the steps below:
Question 4: Will Taking The COVID-19 Vaccine Give Me Blood Clots?
Answer: It’s possible, but the risk is very low.
Medical experts have warned that the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccines may be linked to a few rare but serious blood clotting cases.
The link between these vaccines and blood clotting cases is currently unclear, though the odds are low enough that people can still choose to take these vaccines.
That said, if you experience any of the following symptoms between four days and four weeks after your vaccination, make sure to seek medical help:
Unexplained pinprick, bruising or bleeding
Shortness of breath
Persistent abdominal pain
Blurred vision, nausea and vomiting
Question 5: Is It Safe For Pregnant Women to Take The Vaccine?
As of this time, there has been no confirmed study about the effects of the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnant and lactating women.
This does NOT mean that the vaccine is unsafe for such patients, but if you are currently pregnant it is recommended that you consult your doctor before receiving a vaccination.
Question 6: Are Young People Safe From COVID-19?
Answer: Don’t let your guard down just because you’re young.
CodeBlue recently released an analysis that found that while elderly patients (65 years and above) are still the most at risk, between 31 March and 4 May 2021 the death rates among young infectees (25 to 54 years old) have exceeded those in the slightly older age group (55 to 64 years old).
In other words, more and more young people are dying of COVID-19.
Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you’re invulnerable. Stay safe by taking steps such as:
Not leaving your home unnecessarily
Wearing a mask (or double mask!) at all times while going out
Washing your hands regularly
Following all the required SOPs
Question 7: I’m COVID Positive and Currently in Home Quarantine. What Should I Do?
Answer: First of all, don’t panic.
If you are tested as COVID-19 positive, you’ll first be notified of the lab test result through SMS and the MySejahtera app. Afterwards, you’ll be contacted by the District Health Office (PKD) or the COVID-19 Assessment Centre (CAC) to set an appointment.
Don’t worry if you aren’t contacted straight away. If the PKD is experiencing a high volume of calls, it may take some time for them to reach you. In the meantime, practice self-monitoring and report your symptoms on the MySejahtera app in the “Things to Do” column. It’s important to keep this information as up to date as possible.
In the meantime, here are some Dos and Don’ts for you to keep in mind while self-quarantining:
Have You Registered Yet?
The second phase of applications for the AstraZeneca vaccine has been opened for senior citizens (60 years and above) between 23 May to 26 May 2021.
Registrations for the AstraZeneca vaccine will be opened for those below age 60 at 12pm, 26 May 2021 through the Special Committee On COVID-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) website.
In a press conference, Coordinating Minister of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Khairy Jamaluddin explained which areas would be prioritised first.
“We have given a few days specifically for the elderly to register for the AstraZeneca vaccine,” he said. “Thus, the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) has decided to open registrations to those under 60 tomorrow at noon for the second phase of the AstraZeneca opt-in registration in the Klang Valley, Penang, Johor and in Kuching and Miri, Sarawak.”
Khairy added that as of 25 May, only 228,347 out of the 1.2 million available slots have been booked, meaning that those who register early have a good chance.
#KitaJagaKita Means Taking Care of ALL of Us
This past year has been one of the most significant events of our lives. Regardless of race, religion or creed, each and every one of us has had to make sacrifices in order to adjust to the lockdown-lifestyle.
We’ve ended our kopitiam get-togethers, cancelled our live events and even stopped !
However, while these sacrifices have been painful, they will not last forever. If we Malaysians can work together and behave responsibly, we will finally put an end to this pandemic once and for all.